Sometimes you can head off a decision you’ll regret by looking into your heart and finding regret already there. ~Robert Brault, American author
After spending two full years sitting on the fence over whether to keep Monkey or return him to his breeder, I’ve finally made a decision.
He’s staying … Ta-dah!
First, I learned sending him back to the breeder isn’t an option. She’s having personal problems and can’t deal with another dog.
So an acquaintance (former friend) proposed I re-home him with a retired couple she knew. Said they’d have more time for him. Said they have two big dogs he could “play” with. Said they’d lost their Sheltie and desperately wanted another one. Said we’d both win because I’d be rid of this “problem.”
Domer and Granmma were horrified. Neither believe for a second that Monkey would be happier or better behaved elsewhere. They reminded me he chose me from the get-go and practically worships me.
But raising him to this point has been hard.
Because of his stomach issues and diarrhea, I used to set my clock every two hours through the night and get up, take him outside to potty, and clean up “soft-serve” when he messed in the house. He was placed on a veterinary (read: expensive) diet, and treats were forbidden, for fear they’d upset his tummy.
How do you train a dog without treats??
Gradually, he’s transitioned to a quality food that does agree with him, and I’ve found some cookies and biscuits that don’t stress his gut.
Monk manifests the Pandemic Puppy Persona: separation anxiety, unreasonable fears over things he can’t control, poor response to strangers and other critters. In addition, as a Herding Dog, he has a LOT of energy, and it’s a challenge to keep him mentally and physically stimulated to prevent boredom.
We’re making do, thanks to indoor fetching toys, tugging ropes, Kong chews, a huge yard, plenty of indoor space … and regular long walks.
This summer, when I was at the end of my rope with him, I consulted two experts — a behavior specialist vet and a representative from Sheltie Rescue. They gave me lots of things to try as I retrain Monk of the bad habits developed during his early months.
Some of it’s working — though he’s still a hand full.
Still, everything in me is convinced no one else could (or would) deal with his monkey business better than I. I’m the one who’s sunk time, money, and energy into this pup. I’m the one he trusts.
And I’m the one whose heart would break if he weren’t underfoot.
While things might never be perfect, I’m not surrendering. It takes time and patience to grow a good dog, and this one’s worth it.
Happy 2nd Birthday, Little Monkey!